Letter to the Brethren – November 30, 2001

Dear Members and Co-workers,
Jesus Christ gave us a sober warning in Matthew 24: 6-8: “And you will hear of wars and rumors
of wars… And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are
the beginning of sorrows.” More terrible things will have to happen first, before the end is here (v.
6). Imagine that! The terror attack on New York and the subsequent war in Afghanistan, for
example, are only the “beginning.” Terror and war, earthquakes and other natural disasters (cp.
Luke 21:25-26), as well as famines and disease epidemics will increase!
Let’s consider how terrible the next few years, prior to Christ’s return, will become. The four
horsemen of the Apocalypse, symbolizing religious deception, war, famine and disease epidemics
(cp. Rev. 6: 2-8 with Matthew 24: 4-7) will be responsible for the death of one fourth of mankind
(Rev. 6:8, last sentence). Many of Christ’s disciples will be martyred in the “great tribulation.”
(Rev. 6: 9-11; Rev. 12:17). Many people will die when the third part of our drinking water
supplies will become unusable for consumption (Rev. 8: 10-11). Others will be hurt and
tormented for five months by the military power soon to arise in Europe (Rev. 9: 5,10), while
one-third of mankind will die during the counter attacks of the Asiatic hordes (Rev. 9:13-18).
The Bible forewarns that Christ must return to save man from himself and ensure his very
survival (Matthew 24: 21-22). By then, most people will have died. We read in Is. 24:5-6: “The
earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the
ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth… and few
men are left.” God will destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev. 11:18).
Knowing all of this, what are we to do about it? God has granted us understanding of His Word
and His prophecies for a reason. Christ placed us into His spiritual body, the Church, for a reason.
Simply put, we are here to preach Christ’s gospel message of the Kingdom of God in all the
world as a witness and to prepare for Christ’s return.
Consider that the only sign that Christ gave for His imminent return was this: “And this gospel of
the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will
come.” (Matthew 24:14). Christ called all of us to have a part in this proclamation.
At the same time, Christ is preparing a willing and obedient people to be ready (Rev. 19:7).
Ready for what? To marry Him at His return (Matthew 25:10) and to rule with Him on earth
(Rev. 5: 10) for a thousand years (Rev. 20:6). We have an awesome responsibility not to let down
in what our Master has commissioned us to do. And, we are to “watch therefore and pray
always” to be “counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before
the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36; cp. Rev. 3:10; Rev. 12: 14). If it weren’t for Christ’s true disciples,
God would “smite the earth to ruin” (Mal. 4:6, Lamsa). But He won’t, as His children will be found “so doing” (Matthew 24:46) – they will be participating in the work of preaching the
gospel, and they will have been purifying themselves (1 John 3:3).
If we are about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), we need not be afraid of the future. If God is
our protection and strength in Whom we trust, then we need not fear what man can do to us
(Ps. 56:11). We won’t have to be afraid of evil tidings (Ps. 112:7). We need not be afraid of the
“terror by night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence… nor of the destruction.” (Ps.
91:5-6). We can have confidence in God’s protection in the face of evil, plagues, war or any other
disaster (Ps. 91: 7-10). As long as we abide in Christ and He in us (John 15:4), the peace of Christ
will rule in our hearts (John 16:33). It is God’s peace that surpasses human understanding (Phil.
4:7), and that simply does not know fear (John 14:27).
God has called all of us to enable us to rule with His Son in His soon-coming Kingdom. Let us
say with the apostle Paul: “[We are] confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good
work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6). God will never leave us nor
forsake us, as long as we don’t forsake Him.
Before closing, please note that, in response to requests from some of you, we are including three
return envelopes for your convenience. We do sincerely appreciate your standing alongside us as
we seek to obey Christ’s commission for His Church. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us
directly if we can assist you in any way. As a reminder for those of you who are sick and do not
live close enough for an elder to come to your home, we have anointed cloths available upon your
request, following the instructions and principles set forth in James 5:14-16; Mark 6:56; and Acts
19:12.
May our God Whom we serve bless you richly in all things.
With brotherly love,
Norbert Link